25th May 2022
Schools Analyst Competition 2022
Twenty-one of our BHASVIC A-Level chemists took part in this prestigious competition offered by the Royal Society of Chemistry and supported by the Analytical Chemistry Trust Fund . On 18th May, after our end of year exams but during first years’ study leave, our students arrived to take part in a series of analytical and practical challenges surrounding the chemistry of fish and chips! As one of 300 schools selected, our students spent six hours over the course of the day in the lab, analysing four aspects of the chemistry of fish and chips as outlined by this year’s competition guidelines.
- Using paper chromatography to analyse amino acid content in the flour
- Using a titration to analyse the acid content of malt vinegar and cider vinegar
- Using Benedict’s test to analyse the sugar content of the potatoes used in the chips
- Using gravimetric analysis (heating to constant mass) to analyse the sodium hydrogen carbonate content of the baking soda in the flour
The competition was open to all chemistry students but places filled quickly once we opened registration – it was clear this type of competition was something people were interested in and the practical and teamwork element obviously proved popular!
Working as seven teams of three students, what became clear very quickly was how efficient they were at dividing up the work and making use of the allocated time, just like real research scientists would have to do once given a brief. This spoke volumes not only for their ability to apply their chemistry practical skills, but also their calmness, teamwork and communication skills as they obtained and collated their results and entered them online live for the Royal Society of Chemistry to judge. No doubt these skills will follow them into their University careers and the workplace where they will be highly prized!
It was a pleasure to work with such an advanced group of students whose natural chemistry flair, organization and communication with one another required little if any input as they tackled a set of unknown challenges which drew upon practical skills covered in the first year of their A level course.
Full details of the competition here
Results to be announced in June.
Photos of the event
Eve, Flo and Harriet (left) carry out their titrations whilst Lola and Jack (right) set up for gravimetric analysis
Hana and Mahe discuss which amino acid they are about to test prior to chromatographic analysis
Sophie, Emily and Abi agree on the colour change for their titration endpoint
Agreement of results often generated discussion! Zeynep, Sofia and Steven make their decision
Zeynep checks something with me
Bethany checks the precision of her sample about to be pipetted, making sure it’s exactly 25cm3!
Hana, Maha and Juliana set up their samples for the Benedict’s test for sugars. This test is covered in the A level biology syllabus, so many of the students would have had cross-subject experience of this already
Benedict’s test results up close. The formation of a brick-red precipitate indicates a positive result
“All the good ones Argon!” Gina multitasks by extending Raf’s chemistry joke repertoire whilst filling her pipette